Microsoft has recently made alterations to the official Windows 10 and Windows 11 documentation. The update addresses the discontinuation of three primary components of the operating system. Notably, one of these services originated from the MS-DOS era. The components in question are the Computer Browser, Webclient Service, and Remote Mailslots.
Deprecating the Computer Browser Protocol and Service
Dated and inherently insecure, the Computer Browser (inclusive of its protocol and its service) is amongst the three components deprecated. The particular device location protocol, service, and attached driver were first earmarked to be switched off by default in Windows 10 through the elimination of the SMB1 service. The Computer Browser, best known for enabling identification and connection with different devices within a specific network, has been deemed to possess several security vulnerabilities, cementing its incompatibility with Microsoft's contemporary security standards. Further details about this deprecation can be perused under the section ‘MS-BRWS Common Internet File System' in the official documentation.
Webclient (WebDAV) Service Facing Deprecation
Another service facing the axe is the Webclient (also known as WebDAV) service. This service, intended to enable the editing and managing of files on remote servers, is not configured to initiate at the Windows startup. With its deprecation, developers and users are being encouraged to rather utilize more secure and advanced file-sharing protocols. A deeper insight on the WebDAV service deprecation can be accessed under ‘WebDAV-Win32 apps' in the official Windows documentation.
Remote Mailslots Deprecation
Additionally, the Remote Mailslot protocol is deprecated. This simple and unreliable inter-process communication (IPC) method, fraught with insecurities, can be traced back to its release in MS-DOS. In line with Microsoft's new security and reliability standards, this protocol was first disabled by default in the latest Windows 11 Insider Preview Build . More information on Remote Mailslots deprecation can be found under ‘About Mailslots and [MS-MAIL]: Remote Mailslot Protocol' in the official Windows documentation.
What is protocol deprecation?
For clarity's sake, when Microsoft deprecates a feature, it signifies the halting of active development of the said part of the operating system. This suggests customers are not to look forward to new features or significant modifications. However, it doesn't necessarily indicate immediate removal – Microsoft may leave deprecated functions within Windows for an unspecified period before withdrawal.
As an example, Microsoft deprecated WordPad in September 2023, but the application is yet available as a default Windows app. Another instance is Microsoft Entra accounts and VBScript, marked for deprecation starting October 2023. Microsoft maintains a section in its documentation dedicated to detailing attributes removed in the most recent updates to Windows 10 and Windows 11.